Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Al Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jerry Gilley


Individual productivity of high performers was compared under an individual monetary incentive system and a 10-member group monetary incentive system. Subjects were 4 college students, each assigned to a simulated 10-person group. Subjects individually performed four computerized work tasks (SYNWORK) simultaneously, and the total number of points earned on the tasks was the main dependent variable. A within-subject reversal design was used, with hourly pay (A), individual (B) and group (C) monetary incentives implemented in an ABCB pattern. Subjects, when working under the group incentive pay condition, were told that the number of points they earned during each session would be automatically combined with the points earned by nine other individuals, and their pay would be based on the group's average. All subjects showed improved performance under the individual incentive pay condition, compared to hourly pay. Three of the four subjects performed at lower levels under the group incentive pay condition than under hourly pay. The fourth subject showed steady performance increases across time. Accuracy remained high across all conditions for all subjects. In a post-study questionnaire, subjects reported they preferred, and were most satisfied with, the individual incentive condition. They also chose to work under individual incentives in the future. Results suggest that high performers work harder under individual incentives, when their pay is directly related to their performance. Further, these performers prefer individual incentives over other pay systems, and find individual incentives more satisfying.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access